[The following is re-posted from my professional blog at]

Six and a half years ago I went before friends, family and God to make a sacred commitment.  That commitment was to my new wife that I would care for her and remain with her even when it was really hard.  She, amazingly, made the same commitment to me!  As I held her and thought about this commitment I was not just starry-eyed and excited (there was that, too), but I also had a feeling of anxiety.  I felt a little overwhelmed. Forever is a long time, you see.

That commitment means that even when I am angry.  Even when she has really messed up, I am not going to just give up (and vice-versa).  It means that we will work really hard to endure, even though we are both bound to break promises or make mistakes throughout our relationship.  It means that we keep going even when the ‘going gets tough.’  I think you get the idea.

On January first my church will renew our vows to God and remember our baptism during a Wesley covenant service.  It is not just the words we say to God, but recognizing that God claims us and remains committed to a relationship with us…even when we break our commitments.

So, if God commits to us even when we mess up or break our promises…why should we bother recommitting to God?

Well, it’s like a sound marriage.  The other person may forgive you for messing up, but if the marriage is going to be positive and life-giving: both people have to work hard at the relationship.

We can know that God is seeking after us.  We can know that God loves us and commits to us.  Yet, it will not be a sound relationship if we do not also commit to God, seek after God and love God in return.  Imagine a one-sided marriage, would that be pleasant for either person?

As we begin this new year, I encourage each person to think about their God who loves them and think about ways to be more faithful and committed to that God.  Not because God’s love depends upon it, but because, like a marriage, sharing that commitment will enrich your life and enrich your relationship with God.

The Day We All Love to Hate (or Hate to Love?)
Carrie looking stunning as she prepared for our wedding on Aug 28, 2010

Carrie had a great time last Saturday, wedding dress shopping with her sister. So much so, that when she got back to her parent’s house…she decided to play dress up, herself. She got in her wedding dress -veil and all. Wow. I teased her, but she looked just as beautiful as the day I married her. Maybe more beautiful, actually. She gets all stressed out about some grey hair and worries about her weight, but she is being completely silly, I think most of you will agree. She is beautiful. It’s not just on the outside. It isn’t just something based on looks. My wife and I have agreed to spend our lives together. Those bachelor themed shows that make fun of marriage as “death” or getting “hitched” or “the old ball and chain” just don’t get it. Each day I spend with my wife reminds me of why I married her. We have our fights and difficult moments, but overall we have grown in our love for one another.

Loving one another is not something that happens when we “fall.”  And it isn’t so magical that it takes away all our troubles.  Do I hear an “Amen?”  No, love is something we have to work on and something that has to be maintained and grown.  One way we do that is on special occasions and with our words (feelings).

As we approach Valentine’s Day it is an opportunity to simply share with our loved ones why they matter to us.  For some of us it may be difficult to say the words because circumstances, other relationships, family trouble or time has gotten in the way.  For others of us, we find ourselves in a new relationships where sweet words come easily, perhaps too easily. Valentine’s Day should not just be a day of mushy clichés, but thoughtful words of care from the heart.

This year I have much to be thankful for.  I have a wife, parents, sister and in-laws who have surrounded me with love and care.  I can’t ever repay them for what they have done.  They wouldn’t necessarily want me to…but I can tell them what it meant to me.  I can remind my wife of my love for her and show her that I’m not finished working on that life / love with her.  Who do you have in your life that you need to show some appreciation for?  Who do you have in your life who you might work to grow and strengthen your relationship?

Valentine’s Day is a good place to begin.  It’s not just a day of romance, it’s a day for growing in love with the family and friends around us!